The number of available new jobs also continued to slide, hitting a six-year low.

Other data indicated that household spending, a key measure of individual consumption, tumbled 3.5 per cent in February from a year ago.

The latest figures are among a slew of major indicators being released this week, with the central bank set to release results of the closely watched Tankan quarterly business survey on Wednesday.

The poll of 10,000 companies is expected to indicate a further deterioration of business confidence and record cuts in companies' capital investment plans.

But there was some glimmer of good news on Monday, with the ministry of economy, trade and industry predicting industrial production would rise 2.9 per cent in March and 3.1 per cent in April following February's 9.4 per cent drop from the previous month.

Japan's central bank governor also said in a recent essay that the country's decline in growth appeared to be slowing.